The Canadian immigration system has always backed the reunification of families. For this, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor their immigrating family members and relatives for permanent residency in Canada.
The Family Class Sponsorship Program allows adult citizens and permanent residents of Canada to finance a family member for the Canadian citizenship. However, the person seeking sponsorship must be any of the below to meet eligibility:
- Spouse, conjugal or common-law partner
- Dependent child
- Sibling, niece, nephew, or dependent grandchild below 18 years of age (whose parents are deceased)
The sponsored person must either reside outside of Canada or legally, temporarily residing in Canada (e.g., on a study permit or work permit).
Definition of a Spouse/Partner
Definition of a spouse/partner to be eligible for Family Class Sponsorship should be any of the below:
- Spouse: Legally married as in the law of the origin country and under Canadian law
- Conjugal partner: A minimum of one year of cohabitation in a conjugal relationship without any interruptions.
- Common-law partner: Conjugal relationship for a minimum duration of one year (similar to marriage or common-law relationships), but the couple cannot live together due to religious barriers, immigration issues, marital status, or sexual orientation.
- Same-sex relationships: This category considers these relationships valid for Canadian immigration.
Definition of a Dependent child
A dependent child can be referred as a child of the sponsor or a child of sponsor’s spouse; however, to meet the eligibility, the child must be below 22 years of age and do not have his or her own spouse or common-law partner. Children over 22 can also be dependents if they were financially dependent on their parents before the age of 22 and still seek financial support from their parents due to a physical or mental condition.
Children in the sole custody of the ex-spouse are also considered dependent, but the same needs to be specified on the sponsorship application. Also, if a dependent child has his or her own dependent children, then the sponsor needs to prove their financial capacity to support all the members, and for this, the sponsor must meet a low-income cut-off.
Definition of a Sponsor
An adult Canadian citizen or permanent resident (i.e., above 18 years of age) can be a sponsor. Moreover, a sponsor must live in Canada; the only exception is the sponsor is currently residing outside of Canada but planning to live in Canada after the arrival of the sponsored person.
A Canadian permanent resident or citizen may not sponsor if he or she meets any of the below situations:
- Are in prison
- Are soon to be bankrupted
- Are subject to a removal order
- Gets social assistance from the government (exception includes disability)
- Have been convicted of/threatened to commit/attempted an offence (violent or sexual in nature)
- Have not repaid their immigration loans or made delayed payments
- Have failed to pay child support payments
- Have already sponsored a relative before but failed to meet terms then
- Have sponsored a spouse or common-law partner (but the person sponsored has gained residency for not more than three years)
- Were also sponsored and gained Canadian permanent residency for not more than five years